The Trump administration is prepping to launch its on-again, off-again nationwide immigration raids this weekend, the New York Times reports. The operation, which has given some members of the administration pause, is expected to target some 2,000 immigrants across at least 10 major cities that have been issued deportation orders. Trump has previously spoken publicly about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducting high-profile raids to remove “millions of illegal aliens.” Previous members of Trump’s White House have balked at an operation of that size, saying the government didn’t have the capacity to carry it out and the public blowback of arrests and mass detention would be substantial.
This latest iteration of a “nationwide immigration raid” appears to be far more restrained in scope and not all that different in many ways to similar Obama administration immigration enforcement efforts that targeted thousands of families that had already been ordered to be deported. What is different is the tone and intent of the Trump administration, as well as the pretense of the raids. The Trump raids, for example, are expected to allow for ICE officers to carry out so-called “collateral” deportations, the Times reports, meaning that “authorities might detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids.” “When possible, family members who are arrested together will be held in family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania,” according to the Times. “But because of space limitations, some might end up staying in hotel rooms until their travel documents can be prepared.”